Today is a sad day for all fans of anime from the eighties. Toyoo Ashida, who has worked as a director, character designer, and animator on many anime series and movies, has passed away this past Saturday at the age of 67.
He was most well-known for directing Fist of the North Star and the original Vampire Hunter D movie.
As many of you know, Fist of the North Star is my favorite anime series of all time. It may not be the best, but the ultra-violent story of a tragedy-stricken hero fighting for the weak in a lawless land ruled by complicated tyrants will always have a special place in my heart.
Toyoo Ashida’s ultimate contribution to anime, an addition to bringing a manly manga to life, may be in directing “filler” episodes base on a Shonen Jump manga series that are actually fun to watch.
Most studios put together half-assed stories that have no impact on the continuity, but in Fist of the North Star, episodes in-between the big story arcs feature Kenshiro annihilating the douchiest of thugs in the most hilarious and brutal ways possible, with occasional irony to boot! Great stuff!
With that said, Discotek Media has released all the original Fist of the North Star anime TV series and even the 1986 movie that Ashida directed on DVD. You can also watch the entire anime on Hulu and Crunchyroll.
Blog of the North Star has a great article on Souten Kouro, Toyoo Ashida’s last directed work, that I would like you all to read. Jonathan Clements wrote an biographical piece if you would like to know more about Mr. Ashida.
Rest In Peace, Toyoo Ashida.